10 Years of Responsible Volunteering: Younger volunteers: How volunteering changed my life…

Apart from the positive impact that volunteering has on the communities we work with, it can also have a profound impact on our volunteers. We asked some of our younger volunteers to tell us how volunteering abroad with Globalteer made a difference to their lives and helped shape their futures. Here's what just a few of them said.

After working with Globalteer I found that there is a very necessary, positive side to overseas volunteering

It’s odd to think where I would be if I hadn’t volunteered with Globalteer back in 2012. As I had never travelled to the region previously, I knew I would learn and experience new things, but I could not have imagined how much the trip would have affected me.

Firstly, after enjoying the experience of traveling, meeting new people and discovering new cultures I have been more confident to explore other countries since. As a result I have travelled more of Southeast Asia and most of Europe, something I would not have had the confidence to do previously.

But my career ambitions have also changed significantly as a result of volunteering with Globalteer. After being generally very sceptical of charity work and volunteering overseas or ‘voluntourism’, I was conflicted as to whether volunteering was a good idea prior to my departure. However, after working with Globalteer I found that there is a very necessary, positive side to overseas volunteering that can benefit local communities through supporting local work to encourage projects and charities to thrive.

After discovering this, and investigating it further, I uncovered my own interest in social enterprise, studying how businesses can be created in an attempt to carry out social good, or how developed businesses can support existing projects through collaboration.

My work volunteering with Globalteer has led to my ongoing work with social enterprises in the UK, to my postgraduate education in enterprise and social enterprise, and my future ambitions to work with, and encourage, social enterprise.

Abi Moffat, UK.

Those three weeks really solidified my love of teaching and my belief in the huge impact teachers can have on children’s lives

In 2012 I spent three weeks with Globalteer at their Cambodia Community Project, and my only regret is that I couldn’t stay longer. Siem Reap is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and the people were so welcoming and kind. My friend and I have the wonderful opportunity of to volunteer at an NGO school which had been set up to teach English to children in the local rural area.

I had dreams of studying education at university when I got home. The teachers at the project were so supportive and encouraging, and really made us feel like part of the school. During that time, we were able to get to know many people in the community, visit their homes, and understand a bit more about Khmer culture.

About 18 months ago, I had the opportunity to briefly travel to Siem Reap again, and when I went to visit the project I was so astonished and impressed by how much the program had grown. With new classrooms and more teachers, they were able to take on and sponsor more students, and it was wonderful to see how far they’d come in such a short time.

Those three weeks really solidified my love of teaching and my belief in the huge impact teachers and caring individuals can have on children’s lives.

I have now almost finished my degree to become a qualified primary school teacher, and am looking forward to entering the classroom and possibly teaching overseas.

To this day, volunteering with the fantastic people at Globalteer remains one of the greatest experiences of my life, and four years on, I still think of it constantly. In the future, I very much hope to return to Cambodia and the Community Project.

Claire Nute, Australia

Globalteer also changed my life in the fact that I met my husband through them...

In 2010 I left cold England for the warm climate of Siem Reap to volunteer with Globalteer for three months. I was 23 years old. I had never been out of Europe or travelled alone and so I was feeling pretty nervous especially as I had left my job and given up the lease on my flat. Arriving in Cambodia I was met at the airport by a Globalteer’s regional manager Nick. He immediately put me at ease and I knew I had made the right decision to come to Cambodia.

Volunteering in Cambodia with Globalteer was the most challenging, but rewarding, confronting but inspiring experience I have ever had. Not only did I feel like I was making a difference but I believe it also helped me to grow me as a person. It has given me more confidence in myself and has enhanced my skills as a teacher. Most of all it has made me appreciate how fortunate I am in my life and how important it is to be grateful for what I have and not to stress the small stuff.

Globalteer also changed my life in the fact that I met my husband through them. He was also volunteering with another project and convinced me to come over to see him in South Australia after I had finished volunteering. I ended up staying and the rest is history!

Two years later we went back to Cambodia and got engaged. The following year in 2013 we got married in Siem Reap. We had 90 people at our wedding from England, Australia, France and of course Cambodia.

I would recommend volunteering with Globalteer to anyone. It changed my life not just with meeting my husband-to-be and moving to the other side of the world but meeting some amazing people and developing as a person too.

E, UK & Australia

As a person you can only choose to do the right or wrong thing...

Every morning I woke up to the sound of gibbons singing and set off for a day of hard and rewarding work with 15 amazing elephants who all had their own dark pasts and distinct personalities.

Being able to get up close and feed, bathe and walk the elephants is without a doubt the one of the best experiences of my life. Saying that, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly sad that I could have this experience to begin with, as in an ideal world no elephants would have gone through the devastating Phajaan process (the taming of wild elephants for domestication using cages, punishment or negative reinforcement) and need to be at the sanctuary in the first place.

However, as a person you can only choose to do the right or wrong thing, and by helping these elephants at the sanctuary rather than supporting elephant tourism you are making the right decision and making the best of the situation in Thailand.

Salomae Haselgrove, Australia